Mashudu Netsianda, Senior Court Reporter
TWO stranded deportees from Botswana who stabbed a motorist who had offered them a lift in Plumtree before they slit his throat and used tyres and diesel to burn his body beyond recognition, have been sentenced to a combined 70 years in jail.
Mehluli Bhunu (26) of Maronga Village Dete in Matabeleland North and Trust Ngwenya (20) of Lusulu in Binga who killed Memory Deredza, were convicted of murder with actual intent by Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Evangelista Kabasa.
Bhunu was sentenced to an effective 40 years in jail while Ngwenya was jailed 30 years.
The duo after killing the deceased, burnt his body beyond recognition and then drove off in his car, a Mazda Bongo kombi which was laden with groceries.
They also stole the deceased’s cellphone.
Bhunu and Ngwenya met Deredza at Maitengwe Border Post soon after their deportation from Botswana and he offered them a lift to Plumtree.
Deredza was on his way to Masvingo to return his brother-in-law’s car, which he had borrowed when the accused fatally stabbed him and burnt his body after dousing it with diesel.
In passing the sentence, Justice Kabasa said the murder was committed in aggravating circumstances, which warranted capital punishment.
“You killed an innocent man who had done nothing wrong but had actually offered you a lift and this is a great betrayal on your part. You stabbed the deceased using a knife, which is a lethal weapon. What is even more despicable is that despite the deceased having tried to flee for his dear life, you could not hold back, but instead pursued him,” she said.
“You robbed the deceased’s family of a father, husband, brother and brother-in-law through your wickedness.”
Justice Kabasa said the courts have a duty to protect the sanctity of human life through passing harsh sentences.
“The courts have always emphasised the sanctity of life and no one should lose life at the hands of another. Although the accused persons did not show any remorse, but tampering justice with mercy has always been a principle of the courts.
“Accused persons deserve lengthy prison terms since they are danger to society,” she said.
“In passing the sentence, we cannot ignore the disparity in the accused persons ages at the time of committing the offence. For these reasons, first accused (Bhunu) is sentenced to 40 years while the second one (Ngwenya) will serve 30 years in prison.” — @mashnets